The Malta Tourist Office has joined the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS) as an associate member.
The destination, which was omitted from the government’s green list on Friday despite the Foreign Office excluding it from its blanket advice against non-essential travel, wants to highlight its adventure credentials to travel agents and tour operators ahead of the return of UK visitors.
Natalie Swinburne, UK and Ireland trade marketing manager at the Malta Tourist Office, said the Mediterranean destination has three key pillars for marketing during 2021: Adventure Seekers; Sun & Culture Lovers; and Slow Explorers.
“The Maltese islands have an abundance of adventure activities to offer visitors from the UK,” she said.
“We are looking forward to building relationships with tour operators and travel agents from the touring and adventure travel sector and enjoy finding innovative ways to work with the trade to share Malta, Gozo and Comino with more travellers.”
She said more than 600,000 people visited from the UK in 2019 and the island attracts a range of age groups.
During the course of the pandemic, the tourism sector on the island invested in its hotels, restaurants and experiences.
The tourist office has already started to advertise to the over-50s, as they are the first cohort to be vaccinated, and couples, families and young adults will follow.
Swinburne said the tourist board is seeing a trend for travellers to book “bucket-list adventures and open spaces” after the lockdowns of the past year.
She highlighted how the seas around Malta offer snorkelling, kayaking and swimming; while holidaymakers on the island can try rock-climbing, mountain-biking and horse-riding.
“We really value travel agents as they are an integral part of the booking journey and we would not be able to share our world-class diving, adventure activities and year-round sunshine with tourists without them,” she added.
“We support agents wherever possible through training, fams, events, creative assets and newsletters.
“We have a dedicated trade trainer, Peter Green, whose role is to build relationships with travel agents, offer training and be their first port of call if they need any support.
“We also have a dynamic Malta Training Programme that boasts eight training courses.”
Another reason for joining ATAS is to highlight the destination to tour operators and encourage more of them to sell holidays to Malta, she added.